|Does Cutler have faith in his pass protection? 'I don't have a choice.' (Getty Images)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Worry not, Bears faithful. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz wants you to know that not only is he committed to the running game, he plans to make it work, too. That's good news considering Chicago could only muster 13 yards on the ground last Sunday against the Packers.
‘‘We have to [run the ball], and we will,’’ Martz said after practice Wednesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘That’s one thing we can do — we can run the football. We’ll get that right."
Martz most recently came under fire after he called pass plays on 52 of Chicago's 63 offensive snaps in a lopsided loss to the Saints. Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked six times and spent the afternoon getting slapped around. When asked after the game if he could survive the season with weekly beatings like the one he endured in New Orleans, Cutler needed just three words to get the point across: "I don't know."
On Wednesday, Cutler was asked if he had confidence in Bears' pass-blocking schemes.
‘‘Yeah. I don’t have a choice,’’ he said. ‘‘Those are the guys we’ve got to go with, and we’ve got to get them ready and I’ve got to believe in them. So at the end of the day, they’re going to do the best possible job they can for me.’’
Which brings us back to Martz. Every season, players, fans and media inevitably question the pass-happy offensive football he favors. And following the Saints debacle two weeks ago, head coach Lovie Smith joined the chorus, admitting that "I know the balance as far as running/pass wasn't there. All I can say is we'll get it better. You can't win football games with that type of balance."
But Smith hired Martz. Shouldn't he be the one to insure that Martz isn't getting their best player maimed? Well, it's complicated. But ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith broke down Smith and Martz's relationship during a recent visit to the Pick-6 Podcast.
"It's important to remember that Mike Martz was the guy who gave Lovie Smith his big break in St. Louis. Smith was not a very well known position coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Martz, as head coach of the Rams, liked what he saw of the Buccaneers secondary, offered Smith the defensive coordinator job.
"Lovie Smith has recently said that 'Mike Martz is the reason I am a head coach today.' So because of that, Martz now has a boss who respects him and admires him, and is going to give him a lot of leeway."
And unless something changes, that's bad news for Cutler. Upside: Chicago goes three-and-out on 41 percent of their offensive possessions. While not particularly helpful in terms of scoring points, it does improve Cutler's odds of survival.
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